Chutes & Ladders—DFCI's Nick Haining to become VP of oncology at Merck

Chutes and Ladders

Welcome to this week's Chutes & Ladders, our roundup of hirings, firings and retirings throughout the industry. Please send the good word—or the bad—from your shop to Conor Hale, and we will feature it here at the end of each week.

DFCI's Haining to become VP of Oncology at Merck


Nick Haining will become VP of oncology, starting in January.

Haining, a physician-scientist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, with clinical expertise in hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, says on Twitter: “I’ll be starting as VP, Oncology @Merck in Jan. Very sad to leave phenomenal colleagues and trainees @DanaFarber & @BroadInstitute yet thrilled to be leading a world-class team discovering medicines for the people who need them most.” His laboratory has focused on single-cell analysis of T cells in tumors and editing the genomes of T cells in vivo. Twitter

Pfizer poaches Quest executive to spearhead digital work


The Big Pharma appointed Lidia Fonseca as its first chief digital and technology officer.

Fonseca, who currently serves as chief information officer at Quest Diagnostics, will be responsible for Pfizer's digital strategy aimed at delivering more value to patients, the company said. Incoming CEO Albert Bourla unveiled a list of executive changes in support of his Jan. 1 transition, including tasking R&D head Mikael Dolsten with oversight of the chief medical officer position, and having CFO Frank D’Amelio assume leadership of manufacturing operations. FiercePharma

Perrigo swaps CEOs, naming former tobacco executive to the post


Former tobacco executive Murray Kessler was named CEO of Perrigo.

After deciding to sell its prescription unit this summer and focus on OTC products, Perrigo's Uwe Roehrhoff will step down immediately, following a short stint as CEO. Kessler, though he has no pharma experience, has served as CEO of Lorillard Tobacco Company, which sold to Reynolds American for $27.4 billion. He has also held management roles at Vlasic Foods, Campbell Soup, Clorox and UST Inc., a subsidiary of the tobacco company Altria. FiercePharma

> 2018 Fierce 15 Winner Ansun Biopharma has named Stanley Lewis, M.D., M.P.H. as chief medical officer to oversee clinical development of its lead candidate. Ansun also appointed Connie Lu, Ph.D., as VP of quality. Lewis was previously CMO at TaiMed Biologics, while Lu worked as associate director for quality and as a senior scientist at Genentech. Release

> Belgium-based Promethera Biosciences has promoted Mutsuki Takano, currently general manager of the company's Japan branch, to group chief financial officer. He will succeed Frank Hazevoets. Release

> Vero Biotech named Michael Gentile as VP of medical affairs. Gentile joins the company from the Duke University School of Medicine and Health System, where he was an associate in research. Release

> Nir Barzilai, M.D., was named chief medical advisor of Life Biosciences. Barzilai is director of the Institute for Aging Research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, the Paul F. Glenn Center for the Biology of Human Aging Research at Harvard Medical School and the NIH’s Nathan Shock Centers of Excellence in the Basic Biology of Aging. In addition, Life Biosciences co-founder and chairman David Sinclair, Ph.D., was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia, the country's highest recognition for achievement and service. 

> Hummingbird Diagnostics appointed Jörg Debatin as chairman of its supervisory board. Debatin was formerly VP and chief technology officer of GE Healthcare and CEO of Amedes AG. Release

> GlaxoSmithKline is closing part of its U.K. manufacturing site in Ulverston and laying off nearly 200 workers. It was once slated to become a major biologics plant with hundreds of new jobs. The cuts come as GSK reorganizes its cephalosporin antibiotics business. FiercePharmaManufacturing

> Novartis plans to open innovation labs around the world to connect with tech companies, dubbed Novartis Biome, with the first now live in San Francisco. FierceBiotech

> Orchard Therapeutics intends to spend some of its upcoming IPO proceeds to build a stem cell production facility in the San Francisco area and use the rest to take three gene therapies to the clinic. FiercePharmaManufacturing

> Teva may sell one of its plants in Israel to competitor B. Braun Melsungen, a plan that could save 200 jobs, according to a report. The Kiryat Shmona facility manufactures plastic products for the pharma industry and is said to be worth up to $100 million. FiercePharmaManufacturing

> U.K.-based CDMO Almac is adding to its U.S. operations with a new 24,000-square-foot building at its North Carolina site, which it says will house 100 new employees over the next three years. FiercePharmaManufacturing